Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen talks platform, goals

By Crystal Cole/Islander Editor
Posted 11/9/17

One local daughter is making waves and a difference at a higher level with her recent pageant title.

Lauren Bradford, a 17-year-old senior at Gulf Shores High School, is 2017’s Miss Alabama’s …

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Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen talks platform, goals


One local daughter is making waves and a difference at a higher level with her recent pageant title.

Lauren Bradford, a 17-year-old senior at Gulf Shores High School, is 2017’s Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen.

Born in Myrtle Beach but only living there for her first six months of life, Bradford grew up in Gulf Shores and considers it home.

Bradford got into pageants later than many of her competitors, but has quickly made up for lost time.

“I always watched Miss America and I was kind of awestruck by it,” Bradford said. “Then I ended up as a freshman in high school doing my school pageant which is Miss Gulf Shores High School. I won it as a freshman and I had never done anything like that.”

Funnily enough, Bradford wasn’t convinced she had done well in her first pageant interview back in 2015.

“After my interview for that pageant, I cried because I thought it was so terrible,” Bradford said. “I really got catapulted into it that way and I found out about the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen program and I had been playing violin for a really long time, since I was six years old. I had that talent already, and when I found out how much scholarship money was given out I decided to try it as an at-large contestant.”

She has only done four pageants and has two crowns to show for it.

“My goal is to eventually become Miss Alabama,” Bradford said. “I definitely look up to the Miss Alabama program, and I’ve always wanted to be part of it.”

Ranked first in her class academically with a 4.35 weighted GPA and a 34 composite ACT score, she has earned all A’s throughout her academic career while participating in the GSHS advanced placement curriculum. She is an officer in the National Honor Society and was a member of the Navy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC) where she was awarded Highest GPA and Most Distinguished Cadet.

Bradford is founder and president of Alpha & Omega Club, serves as GSHS representative of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber and is president of The Health Science Club for Future Healthcare Professionals. She is a member of the Youth Leadership Team at Gulf Shores United Methodist Church, a Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership Ambassador and is First Chair of the Eastern Shore Symphony Orchestra and is First Violinist of the Baldwin County Youth Orchestra.

Bradford has already been accepted and offered a cash scholarship to Auburn University, but plans to tour at least one other school before making a decision. When she gets there, she’ll have even more decisions to make.

“I’m kind of conflicted right now because I want to do so many things while I’m at college,” Bradford said. “I’m probably going to study biomedical science, but I don’t really want to go to medical school. I’m going to try and partner that with a business/ engineering minor or some sort of business-related thing. I might continue on to get my MBA.”

She plans on partnering medical and business for an administration role or possibly medical technology sales.

Her pageant platform is called The Digital Diet Plan.

“It’s about the overuse of technology and the negatives of it,” Bradford said. “I call it The Digital Diet Plan because I think you maintain a healthy diet through balance of use. We don’t eat all potato chips or all cheesecake all the time. Hopefully we try and eat a well-rounded diet with different types of food. I think that technology should be like that, too.”

Through her research, she found the daily average use of technology is eight hours and 40 minutes.

“I’m really passionate about that, especially when I see people in restaurants looking at their phones and not even communicating,” Bradford said. “I began to do a lot of research and see the correlation is has with health issues and anxiety and depression.”

She frequently speaks to children and parents alike about her findings and ways to limit technology use to help foster relationships.

Bradford succeeded Jessica Baeder, who was crowned Miss America’s Outstanding Teen 2017 in Orlando on July 29. She represented Alabama with the other 50 Miss America’s Outstanding Teen contestants at the Miss America Pageant September 6-10 in Atlantic City.

“My big sister is Miss Alabama, Jessica Procter,” Bradford said. “I got to see her compete in all the preliminary competitions and the finals filmed live the last night. She was in the top seven and got the Quality of Life Award, and I was so proud of her. Since she was my big sister, I got to do a lot of things that a lot of people who went to the pageant wouldn’t have. I got to go the afterparty at Miss America and be in the same room as the newly-crowned Miss America and the one who had just given up her title.”

While her personal and professional aspirations are lofty, Bradford continues to be a role model to little girls in her community and throughout the state.

“It’s a crazy thought to me that even though I’m only 17, I can say something- just one little thing- that can really help a girl be confident,” Bradford said. “I think that’s really powerful and I think that’s something the Miss America organization really fosters is that kind of confidence that you can give to others just by being yourself.”